Beijing/Islamabad: China and Pakistan on Saturday signed a number of infrastructure agreements to boost cooperation on the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including for the development of the strategic Gwadar port, ahead of the two-day Belt and Road summit here.
The pacts were signed in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ahead of the much-publicised Belt and Road (B&R) Forum beginning Saturday.
The pacts deal with increasing bilateral cooperation within the framework of China’s ambitious Silk Road project, upgrading the main railway track between Karachi and Peshawar – referred to as ML-1 or Main Line-1, and an MoU for the establishment of a dry port in Havelian, Radio Pakistan reported.
Three agreements were signed pertaining to economic and technical cooperation worth 3.4 billion yuan (about USD 490 million) for the strategic Gwadar port in southern Pakistan and East Bay expressway, a 19 kilometre controlled access road under construction in Gwadar. After the MoUs and agreements were signed, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Sharif that the bilateral ties remain “a priority for China” and Beijing was willing to enrich the “all-weather” strategic and cooperative partnership with Pakistan.Xi said China wants to deepen cooperation with Pakistan under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Sharif said Pakistan will continue to cooperate with China under multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and the SCO to contribute to stability and development in the region and beyond. He said the China-Pakistan friendship is solid and stressed that it was a national consensus to deepen ties with Beijing and participate in the B&R initiative.